China's decades-long efforts to combat desertification
By Chen Fangting, Feng Ran
02:12

The Chinese government has been committed to combating desertification and after decades of hard work, many arid areas have become oases. A kind of "green miracle" was revealed by a recent NASA study.

The major change is confirmed by NASA's satellite data. From 2000 to 2017, a quarter of newly increased green area is located in China, making the nation the biggest contributor to a greener earth.  

The trend in annual average leaf area /VCG Photo

The trend in annual average leaf area /VCG Photo

Over the years, the Chinese government has been making efforts to push for afforestation.  

One example is the key forest shelterbelts in north, northeast, and northwest China. The Three-North Shelter Forest Program was launched in 1978. It's the world's biggest forest ecology project.

And in 40 years, China has cultivated some 30 million hectares of forest reserves, with its green area coverage rate rising from some five percent to over 13 percent.

The Mu Us Desert /VCG Photo

The Mu Us Desert /VCG Photo

The project has generated many success stories, like a small county in Shanxi Province, at the verge of the Mu Us Desert. They began planting trees decades ago, with local officials taking the lead. Quotas and tasks were allocated, and success finally came after multiple failures.  

Another example is the Hobq Desert. Solar power stations, outside investment, local farms, and tree planting enabled the desert economy model there to turn over 6,000 square kilometers of desert green. It also helped some 100 thousands farmers out of poverty.  

The Hobq Desert /VCG Photo

The Hobq Desert /VCG Photo

"Green mountains and clear water are as good as mountains of gold and silver." This is what Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed on many occasions. China's Three-North Shelter Forest Program is designed for completion in 2050.

But the pursuit for green mountains and clear waters will never end.

(Top image via VCG)

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